Framing the Lesson: Improving Intonation Using Singing

Framing the Lesson: improving Intonation Using Singing

Helping each student develop a sense of relative pitch can dramatically improve your ensemble’s intonation. One common technique to help instrumentalists internalize relative pitch is to have them sing. Incorporating singing into your rehearsal is a great technique, but students shouldn’t lose sight of the final learning goal: to improve their intonation.

Using Framing Strategies to Teach Rhythm

Using Framing Strategies to Teach Rhythm

Teachers work hard to make sure that beginning instrumentalists develop a strong sense of internal pulse. Framing this learning objective for students in your lesson plan can help make sure that they understand the goal. Better yet, framing can help you check for student understanding and lead to a more efficient rehearsal.

Framing the Lesson Plan

Framing the Lesson Plan

Yesterday, we discussed framing the lesson as a two-part process for giving students a clear map and goal for each lesson. Making students aware of their goal at the beginning of the rehearsal – and showing how they accomplished that goal at the end – helps engage students and ensures you’re teaching to standards.

Framing the Lesson

Framing the Lesson

No matter what the journey is, we all benefit from knowing where we are headed, are reassured by directional signs along the way, and appreciate a “you have arrived at your destination” affirmation at the end of the drive!

Similarly, students will learn more – and perform at higher levels – when they have these kinds of markers in a lesson.

SmartMusic Repertoire Update: September 2017

SmartMusic Repertoire Update: September 2017

September is here and the school year is up and running!

To help, we’ve added 19 new ensemble titles to the SmartMusic Repertoire Library. Included are pieces for choir, concert band, jazz ensemble, string orchestra, and full orchestra.

View the complete list.



We invite you to explore the full SmartMusic Repertoire Library and/or request additional titles you’d like us to add.

Using SmartMusic For Self-Assessment

Using SmartMusic For Self-Assessment

Student practice is at its most effective when students are able to assess it themselves. Helping students to become active, engaged participants in their own assessment creates empowered learners – and develops ear training skills to boot. Self-assessment can also create independent learners who are eager for new challenges on their instruments.

Teaching Students How To Practice

Teaching Students How To Practice

Students who practice wrong notes and rhythms at home bring those mistakes to class. Often you will spend more time getting them to unlearn those wrong notes than if you’d just spent the time spoon-feeding them the right notes in the first place.

Teaching students how to practice means teaching them to assess their own playing.

Why Is Assessment Important in Music Ensembles?

Why Is Assessment Important in Music Ensembles?

For better or worse, teachers spend a lot of time measuring students.  This measurement is necessary to ensure that effective teaching and learning are happening in each classroom. Ultimately, assessment is about making sure that students meet instructional standards. Testing for testing’s sake isn’t productive. Instead, good assessment should ensure that student learning is measured in a way that helps both students and teachers improve.

Music Assessment Strategies

Music Assessment Strategies

Assessment of student learning is at the heart of effective teaching. Understanding student performance, diagnosing what was done well, what has yet to be improved, and providing specific feedback to students has the potential to significantly improve your music program in very real and meaningful ways. Assessment data can become an integral component of improving any music program if it addresses learning outcomes that are clear and focuses on the aspects of student performance that are most important.

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #007: Marketing Your Music Program

Music Ed Mentor Podcast #007: Marketing Your Music Program

Marketing your music program can help make sure that parents and administrators can see the value of your program, build community relationships (including with local businesses), and improve your fundraising efforts. Whether your motivation is to show everyone why music education matters, or to simply improve your relationship with your administration, marketing is a vital part of your role.